Tour de France: Wiggins dropped from Team Sky

British cycling fans will be dismayed at the news on Friday that Bradley Wiggins has not been picked to race in this year's Tour de France. THe former winner has been dropped by Team Sky.

Tour de France: Wiggins dropped from Team Sky
Bradley Wiggins, seen here crossing the line in 2012, will not be racing at this year's Tour de France after being dropped by his team. Photo: AFP

Former winner Bradley Wiggins was not included in the Sky team announced Friday for this year's Tour de France.

Wiggins, who won the race in 2012 — the same year he took Olympic time-trial gold — had long been resigned to being omitted from a team now built around Chris Froome, last year's Tour de France winner, and Sky boss Dave Brailsford confirmed his omission when unveiling his squad.

"It was a very tough decision," said Brailsford. "Bradley's been a great,champion, is a great champion — he's been fundamental to the growth of cycling in this country.

"But my job is to look at the best probabilities to try to win, to picture somebody on that podium with the yellow jersey on the Champs Elysees and work back from there.

"You look at the riders you've got and think who's the best placed to try and win, then you build a team based on evidence, based on logic — you try to take the emotion out of it.

"A star team will always beat a team of stars. I think that's really important."

Earlier this month, he suffered a thigh injury following a crash during the Tour of Switzerland, having missed last year's Tour due to a combination of a chest infection and a knee problem."

But Brailsford was adamant Wiggins, who has won seven Olympic medals including four golds, had a future with Sky.

More racing in Bradley

"On this occasion, Bradley will miss out," he said. "But it's one race, there's still the future and there's a lot more racing in Bradley."

Wiggins, who in winning the race two years ago became Britain's first Tour de France champion, is now expected to turn his attention to competing at next month's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

England's Commonwealth Games cycling coach Shane Sutton was delighted to have Wiggins on board.

"His addition will be a real morale boost to the rest of the track squad," said Sutton in a Commonwealth Games England media release. "The decision of who will ride what event will be made nearer the time."

Froome will be supported by his long-time right hand man Richie Porte in a nine-strong team which also includes Geraint Thomas, Mikel Nieve, Bernhard Eisel, Vasil Kiryienka, David Lopez, Danny Pate and Xabier Zandio as Sky go for a hat-trick of Tour wins.

"Team Sky returns to the Tour de France with the reigning champion and we are looking to win the yellow jersey for the third time in three years and a second consecutive time for Chris Froome," said Brailsford.

"We know how hard it is to win this race and that it takes a totally focused and carefully constructed team, with the right blend of riders, to give us the best chance of victory.

"Each rider has been selected to play a specific role which will involve total sacrifice and commitment to the team's ambition of reaching the Champs Elysees in yellow."

Froome has won both the Tour of Oman and Tour de Romandie this season. He also led the Criterium du Dauphine until, a day after crashing on the sixth stage, he was overtaken and eventually finished the race in 12th place.

Porte helped Froome win last year's Tour and, together with the likes of Loped, Kiryienka, Zandio and Neve will be expected to play a key role on the steep climbing sections of the route.

Meanwhile Eisel and Pate are expected to come into their own in aiding Froome on the flatter stages.

The 21-stage race begins on July 5 in Leeds, northern England and will conclude on July 27th in Paris.

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Inaugural Women’s Tour de France to start at Eiffel Tower

The route for the inaugural women's Tour de France was unveiled on Thursday with eight stages, embarking from the Eiffel Tower on July 24th next year.

French cyclist Marion Rousse delivers a speech next to Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme during the presentation of the first edition of the Women's Tour de France cycling race.
French cyclist Marion Rousse delivers a speech next to Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme during the presentation of the first edition of the Women's Tour de France cycling race. Photo: Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP.

The first complete edition of the women’s version of cycling’s iconic race starts on the day the 109th edition of the men’s Tour ends.

After a route that winds through northern France, the race culminates in the Planche des Belles Filles climb in the Vosges mountains.

Danish cyclist Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig said she was over the moon to be taking part.

“I want it to be July now so we can get stared,” she said actually jumping up and down.

“The Tour de France is a reference and when you say you are a cyclist people ask about that. Now I can say I race the Tour de France,” she said after the presentation.

MAP: Details of 2022 Tour de France (and Denmark) revealed

Race director Marion Rousse, a former French cycling champion and now a TV commentator, told AFP it would be a varied course that would maintain suspense over the eight days.

“It is coherent in a sporting sense, and we wanted to start from Paris,” she said of the 1,029km run.

“With only eight stages we couldn’t go down to the Alps or the Pyrenees, the transfers would be too long.

“The stages obviously are shorter for the women than for the men’s races. The men can go 225 kilometres. For the women the longest race on our roster is 175km and we even needed special dispensation for that,” she said. “But it’s a course I love.”

Christian Prudhomme, the president of the Tour de France organisers, was equally enthusiastic.

“The fact it sets off from Paris the day the men’s race ends gives the new race a boost because it sets the media up to follow it more easily.

“It also means that with the Tour de France starting on July 1st and the women’s race ending on the 31st, there will be cycling on television every day of July.”

The men’s race is broadcast in around 190 countries.